Jaguar 'D' Type
USA 1990 - Mark Charles with the bag
Cleverly cloned from the most famous 1956/1957 Le Mans winning car and probably the best sports car of it's time I have pleasure in presenting this resume of my most favourite car regardless of it's brief history in this world although it has lived and been registered in three countries already and is simply a joy to drive and be in ... one almost imagines it is the "real thing"!
It must be understood at the outset this car is a good "reproduction" not an original one of the eight "long nose" D type Jaguars ever manufactured between 1955 and 1957.This car has been subject to an extensive re-build in1991 by my race engineer Les Laidlaw to be made sensibly close in specification to the original cars it depicts.
In 1990 I was in California with a couple of mates in August at the 4 day Laguna Seca historic race meeting at Monterey near Carmel. I had noticed a dark green D type Jaguar in the pits on the Thursday and approached it's owner an Englishman in his mid/late thirties called Mark Charles. He had a factory in Byfleet in Surrey, England and was building about six cars a year to order mainly for American (and Japanese) clients.
This particular D type was built in the early mid-1980's as his prototype the mechanicals cloned from a 1966 S type 3.4 manual Jaguar and after extensive testing in Europe the car was sent to America for evaluation and as a "demonstrator" from which he took orders. His new cars were selling then for between US$85,000 and US$100,000 depending on specification, excellent value and compared most favorably with the more well known Proteus and Lynx replica's being sold for much more but they were also priced dependent on specification. I talked him into selling it.
BRIEF SPECIFICATIONS - as follows:
ENGINE: 3.4 litre twin overhead cam straight 6 cylinder engine using 3 x DCOE 45mm Weber carburetors and a "straight port' cylinder head worth at least 20 more bhp. We have since balanced the motor, fitted higher compression forged pistons and better conrods, built extractors the same as original and added earlier model C type spec grind camshafts and it is estimated the car now produces about 250 bhp and "bags" of torque.
1991 re-build back to chassis
GEARBOX: All synchromesh with overdrive on 2nd ,3rd and 4th gears. Even the gear lever remains the exact shape of the original D types also retaining the correct aluminium knob. The overdrive has a small unobtrusive switch on the dashboard.
CHASSIS: Square painted tubular steel. It must be noted the Jaguar E type follow-on road car although longer in wheelbase also used a similar space frame (or chassis) to the D type so the chassis of this car bears resemblance to both.
SUSPENSION: Original D types employed torsion bar suspension front and rear whereas the later E type (and S types) went to independent upper and lower wishbones with coil over shock absorber suspension (dual coils/shocks on the rear) for better ride and more predictable handling but is difficult to spot at first glance.
WHEELS/TYRES: Dunlop 16"x 6" alloy reproductions of the original wheels with Dunlop CR48 6.50 x 16 racing tyres with "knock off" hubs.
BODY: A mixture of GRP and aluminium bonded in the centre section to the space frame for rigidity and strength painted original British Racing Green. Number backgrounds (roundels) also feature the rear tail being illuminated by small light for car identification from the pits at the Le Mans 24 hour races.
BRAKES: Dual cylinder non power assisted Jaguar/Girling disc brakes front and rear with brake bias adjustment.
STEERING: Rack and pinion 2.75 turns lock to lock.
DIFFERENTIAL: Limited slip with 3.54:1 ratio.
OTHER FEATURES: All instrumentation is correct and the wood rim steering wheel has painstakingly reproduced to the last rivet. Seating and passenger side cover/hatch are exact and correct. A full width plexiglass windscreen is a requirement at Le Mans in 1956 and doors on both sides must open and all cars built to Le Mans rules also had to carry a spare wheel. We found a Mercedes Benz oil cooler which was the same as a D type and we also rebuilt all the brake/reservoir systems and other under bonnet items such as dry sump tank, breather/oil hoses etc and only an expert would even suspect this car was not a "real one!" The motor is tilted over 8 degrees also to comply.
The exhaust pipes protrude out the side as do the earlier D types as opposed to a rear exit for the "long nose" as it is considered extra weight, cumbersome and provides no ground clearance. Mentioned before the extractors were hand built to D type specifications and dimensions.
Don Thallon, Peter Magraith, and myself at Amaroo 1991
COMPETITION: When first imported I invited Peter Magraith to drive my D type at Amaroo Park historic race meeting in 1990 in the regularity event whilst I raced my Falcon Sprint in other races (see photo of Peter beside the D type).
In 1991 I completed the Dutton Grand prix Rally to Adelaide's AGP with Frank Dartell as co-driver and again in 1992 with Don Thallon. It is interesting to note that it covered the standing quarter mile at Geelong Sprints in a time of 13.90 seconds and was timed at Holden's test track Yo Yang at 153 mph and still accelerating but no more road. Some of the late model Porsche's were struggling to do these speeds or times. Collingrove hillclimb in Adelaide as part of one of the second Dutton GP rally I recorded an 8th outright against over 220 cars with a time of 40.18 sec's for my best run up the hill.
Replica or reproduction cars are not eligible for CAMS historic log books and therefore not able to race at open race meetings other than compete in the regularity events no matter how sympathetic their specifications may be to the original but for value for money a well constructed and reasonably authentic reproduction can provide enormous pleasure at a fraction of the cost of the "real thing!"
JAGUAR DRIVERS CLUB of Australia: April 2000 my car was invited to be displayed at the 31st National Day at Fox Studios. Our centre tent featured four cars ... Keith Berriman's and Warren Daley's genuine short nose D type's, a very good replica C type and my car ... what an honor to be in such company and the centre of a 400 car display.
DOLLAR VALUES: A good genuine numbered D type with some sort of a racing history D type is worth in the vicinity worldwide of around 1.5 million plus US dollars depending on condition - long nose versions much more. It is considered by many my car is worth in the vicinity of $150,000 ... it would be difficult to import a good one from the UK these days and pay shipping, all taxes and duties at this price ... plus your UK airfares etc to view it!
I hope you like reading this information ... enjoy as I share my pleasure with you.
Cars I have previously owned: (click)
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